From September through December, Saturdays were all about college football. But now the calendar has flipped to 2020, we're inching closer toward March Madness and the Saturday spotlight shines brightest on college hoops.
Saturday is the best and busiest day to bet college basketball for several key reasons. First is the schedule itself. We have more than 140 games to choose from, which gives both wiseguys and public bettors countless opportunities to maximize their edge.
Today is also the best day to bet against the public because many casual bettors may not bet college hoops consistently during the weekdays, but will dabble on the weekend, especially on big games between powerhouse schools. Savvy veteran sharps can find increased value by going contrarian in the most heavily bet Saturday games. These are the nationally televised games, games between ranked teams and big rivalry matchups in conference play.
However, there is also value on the obscure added or extra games that almost always get overlooked by recreational bettors. Think of the Charleston Southern vs Gardner Webb-type showdowns. Only sharps with an edge are betting these games, so following line movement is extremely beneficial because all of the moves are almost purely caused by pros.
You can track lines for all of today's action with our free VSIN College Basketball live odds page.
For more analysis and betting updates, be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning from 9 a.m.-noon ET on The Lombardi Line. We'll be breaking down Saturday sharp action for college basketball, NBA and the Super Bowl.
Let's discuss a few Saturday games receiving sharp money
1 p.m. ET: Villanova (15-3, ranked 9th) at Providence (11-9)
On paper this looks like a blowout for Nova, who has the far better record and ranking. Nova has also won five in a row while Providence has dropped two straight. Despite all this, Nova only opened as a short 2-point road favorite. The public is hammering the Wildcats yet the line has fallen to 1.5, indicating smart money on the home conference dog Friars.
2 p.m. ET: LSU (14-4) at Texas (12-6)
Public bettors bet largely based on gut instinct and bias. They also love betting favorites on short spreads and put a ton of weight into won-loss records. As a result, it's no surprise that more than three-out-of-four bets are backing LSU. Plus the Tigers have won seven straight while Texas has lost two in a row. However, despite this heavy support, we've seen the LSU fall from -2 to -1.5 or even -1 at some shops. Why would books hand out a better number to the public if they're already on LSU to begin with? Because pros got down hard on the Longhorns + 2 at home, triggering sharp reverse line movement in their favor.
2 p.m. ET: Mississippi State (12-6) at Oklahoma (12-6)
This is a classic case of "what have you done for me lately?" Mississippi State is riding a three-game winning streak while Oklahoma has lost three of their last four games. The public says give me the team playing better as of late. This line opened at a pick'em or Mississippi State -1. Roughly two-thirds of bets are backing the Bulldogs, yet the line has flipped to Oklahoma -1.5, a dead giveaway that pros pounded the Sooners at home.
8 p.m. ET: Baylor (16-1, ranked 1st) at Florida (12-6)
This game looks way too good to be true for the public. Baylor is the No. 1 team in the country. How can the Bears be a dog against an unranked team? Despite the public rushing to grab the points with Baylor, we've seen the line move from Florida -1 to -2. This signals sharp reverse line movement on the Gators with pros fading the trendy dog. This will be an extremely heavily bet primetime game, which provides heightened contrarian value for Florida. Also, Baylor is 11-6 ATS while Florida is 8-10 ATS, creating "bad ATS" vs "good ATS" buy-low, sell-high value on the Gators at home.